Green Guy Greg here. Earth Day is EVERY DAY. The following is an ever-evolving "green" guide... to how we can make simple, convenient changes in our every day lives to help shrink our carbon footprints (reduce carbon emissions and fossil fuel pollution), with a focus on reducing/eliminating our consumption of plastic.
Here's why I choose to focus especially on plastic: ( If you don't need the why and want to skip to the links list of plastic-free alternative products, scroll toward the bottom of this page ):
* Plastic is made from fossil fuels ( crude oil and more recently, natural gas/methane ), but is the most overlooked, under-addressed problem within the fossil fuel pollution conversation.
* Plastic can only be recycled a maximum of twice
* Less than 9% is ever recycled anyway
* None of it is biodegradable
Therefore, all plastic is pollution. All plastic ever produced still exists on Earth, won't go away for centuries, and we're only adding exponentially more every day. We all participate in perpetuating this problem, more or less, and have been for decades under the lie that plastic is "recycleable". Here's how we can change that from the consumer end:
~ If plastic shopping bags aren't yet banned in your area, always bring our own reusable bags to the store. Never accept a plastic one, even for produce, and don't buy pre-packaged produce. Store your produce/leftover food in reusable pyrex, glass, stainless steel or ridgid plastic aka "tupperware" containers at home instead of "disposable" plastic ziploc bags or cling-wrap.
~ Buy a water purifier and a stainless steel or glass water bottle- never buy plastic bottled water again.
~ Always refuse plastic straws for beverages (this gets ridiculed but it's no small effort). Also, always refuse utensils and other unnecessary single-use items when ordering takeout or delivery.
~ Buy rice, grains, beans and nuts in bulk, and bring your own bags for them as well.
Ask yourself these questions before any purchase you make:
* Is this product made of, packaged in or bottled in plastic? If so, do I need it at all?
* If yes, is there another product that serves the same purpose which is not made
of, packaged or bottled in plastic? ( Plastic includes synthetic polyester, nylon, vinyl & acrylic clothing/fabrics/carpet. 'Microfiber' fabric is plastic, as well as 'tri-blend'
fabric, which is usually least 33% plastic. These synthetic fabrics are not only the leading sources of billions of micro plastics in the ocean as a result of microfibers shedding from our laundry down the drain in the washer, but shed and spread everywhere on land from regular wear. Microplastics are now being discovered in our blood and our lungs )
* Then do the research- it's easy with the internet, but
the links list toward the bottom of this page provides many
plastic-free product alternatives to make that research even easier.
Otherwise, instead of Google I recommend Ecosia. It's a carbon-zero search engine/browser that plants trees around the world for aprox. every 45 searches you make, and donates sustainable projects to communities in need.
~ Seamlessly choose an ESCO ( Energy Service Company ) that supplies electricity sourced from 100% wind/solar to your home through your local utility company. Your utility co. will provide a list on their website or by mail upon request.
~ Pull out of big oil/gas/coal ( fossil fuel ) companies in your investment portfolio. Reinvest in renewable energy and other eco-friendly companies. Aspiration banking is one source to look into.
~ More to come! I'm looking forward to making this guide more comprehensive- possibly with help of the blog page- replete with more facts, stats, cited soures, and links to websites and articles that inform and motivate you. In the meantime regarding plastic, I encourage you to refer to the 22 shocking facts at ecowatch.com which expound on why I feel this is such an important and urgent matter for all.
The plastics/fossil fuel industry can be weakened by the power of the consumer!
When heeded, consider yourself Green-Guyed! @dont_plasticipate
TO ASSIST YOU IN THE ABOVE GREEN GUYDANCE, BELOW IS A LINKS LIST IN PROGRESS, OF PLASTIC/PETROLEUM-FREE ALTERNATIVES TO PRODUCTS WE REGULARLY USE:
( some listed are affilliates, indicate by a red star*, which means I'll get a % of the sale if you make a purchse after clicking on the proved link )
* Blueland ( tablet dissolves in water, no PVA! )
* *Eco Roots ( Wool Dryer Balls on same page- plastic free alternative to dryer sheets. Dryer sheets are plastic )
( The jury is still out on Polyvinyl Alcohol, aka PVA, which may not completely break down after dissolving )
See above comments on PVA. Also, liquid castille soap in an aluminum bottle. Many other plastic-free houshold products available, including Tangie Laundry Soap concentrate bar = 256 loads )
* Sheets ( Also plastic-free dryer sheets and other houshold cleaning products. See above comments on PVA )
DISH SOAP ( manual and dishwasher ) :
* Etee Liquid Dish Soap ( concentrate in a beezwax tube, add to water in a glass pump bottle )
* Blueland ( dishwasher tablet , no PVA! )
SHAMPOO & CONDITIONER:
* *ME Mother Earth ( bars )
* J R Liggett's ( bars )
* Plaine Products ( liquid in an aluminum bottle. Postage paid send-back box provided for empties )
* Hey Humans ( Jada Pinkett Smith's plastic-free line )
RAZORS ( replacement blades cost a fraction of those plastic cartridges ):
BANDAGE STRIPS ( alternative to plastic "BANDAID" ) :
Find 'Strap' Bamboo Body Tape at PATCH too )
TOOTHBRUSHES ( manual and electric ):
* *ME Mother Earth ( Manual bamboo toothbrushes as well as Bamboo replacement brush heads compatible w/ Sonicare electric toothbrush ). Use code GREGORYCOUTINHO for 10% off when you checkout after accessing their site through my link by above, next to the* *
* Package Free Bamboo Toothbush ( adult and child sizes )
* SURI electric toothbrush
TOOTHPASTE ( or you can DIY a recipe w baking soda, coconut oil & peppermint oil, etc ):
LIQUID HAND SOAP ( I recommend bar soap, but if you must ):
* Dropps ( pod dissolves in water as a foaming soap in a glass pump bottle.
The jury is still out on Polyvinyl Alcohol, aka PVA, which may not completely break down after
* Blueland ( tablet dissolves in water as a foaming soap in a glass pump bottle )
* *Raw Elements( Use my Affiliate Discount Code: RAWSCREEN10 )
* *Lochtree ( Raw Elements also carried )
HAIR STYLING POMADE/CREAM/GEL:
Check back for more. Other varieties carried by varius companies on this list.
PAPER TOWELS ( instead, I recommend plastic-free reusable sponges, swedish dish cloths, rags etc[avoid "microfiber"- that's plastic/polyester], for less waste. Find varieties at ME Mother Earth, Lochtree, EcoRoots, Package Free, Blueland, all elswhere on this links list... but if you must, go with plastic-free packaged bamboo paper towels):
BEVERAGE CUPS, PARTYWARE, TABLEWARE:
* Ball Aluminum Cup ( reusable, light weight, infinitely recyclable alternative to single-use plastic SOLO cup, found in most stores where disposable cups are also found: Target, CVS, ACE, Stop & Shop, Walmart, Party City, Kroger, Safeway, Albertsons, ShopRite, Circle K, Sprouts, & Publix )
* Steelys Drinkware ( bulk order stainless steel drinkware )
* Green Paper Products ( also carries biodgradable utensils, cups, plates, straws etc )
MATTRESSES ( no polyester/plastic fabrics or petroleum-based foam cushioning ):
* *Pela Case ( 100% compostable plant-based "plastic" phone cases for most sizes of iOS and Android. Smart watch bands also available, as well as other accessories. I receive 10% of every sale made through the Pela Case link above )
* Biom ( unlike Clorox and Lysol brands, wipes are biodegradable and container is refillable )
MAILERS / PACKAGING, SHIPPING MATERIALS / PACKING TAPE:
ART SUPPLIES / SCHOOL SUPPLIES / OFFICE SUPPLIES:
* Natural Earth Paint( see their Natural Acrylik Paint, the first of its kind )
LIGHTERS ( matches are always a good alternative, but if you must ):
* Etsy ( Rechargeable. Many varieties. Some will come in unneccesary plastic packaging but that's still better than disposing of countless plastic butane lighters )
MISCELLANUOUS ( all of the above and more, including menstrual products ):
If you're in NYC however, walk into the stores listed below and find many of the products carried by the companies above, for one-stop shopping/no shipping! All stores below also have bulk refillery sections as well( bring your own container, refill a variety of products) :
* A Sustainable Village ( 318 E 9th St, 10003 )
* Georgie's Five & Dime ( 577 Rogers Ave, Brooklyn, 11225 )
* Earth & Me ( 2 locations in Astoria, Queens; one in Park Slope, Brookyn )